18th August 2016

The Christian Identity 

“I pray…that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
Ephesians 3:16-19 (NIV) 

The Bourne Identity is a 1980 spy fiction thriller by Robert Ludlum that tells the story of Jason Bourne, who suffers from retrograde amnesia and must seek to discover his true identity.

To me, this parallels the human condition: Because of ‘The Fall’ we have forgotten who we are and need to seek our true identity. Our identity matters because it determines what we think about ourselves and how we live our lives.

Some find their identity in their friendships. Some find their identity in their looks, whilst others find it in doing good or being a decent person. The trouble is, if we find our identity in our friends and what others think of us, then we will be extremely hurt if someone doesn’t like us. There’s also a problem with finding our identity in our appearance, because what happens when we get old and our looks fade? If we try to find our identity in doing good things and being a decent person, what happens if we mess up, as humans always do? It’s not that we shouldn’t care about these things, but we shouldn’t find our identity in them. What’s more, we shouldn’t define our self-worth and value according to these things, because they are unreliable and only lead to fear.

Paul shows us a different way: That we are to find our identity in God’s love for us. When we know how much God loves us we will know that we are precious to him, we matter to him and he is on our side. That gives us incredible power to live our lives, not out of fear, but out of love. The perfect love of God drives out this fear because his love is not based on anything we have – or haven’t – done; it is based on who he is.

To find our identity in God’s love means allowing the love of God to shape the opinion that we have of ourselves. We are to think of ourselves as being loved by God and precious to him. We are not defined by the opinions of others, or what we do, or what we look like. We are defined by the love God has for us.

Now that’s an identity worth recovering.

Prayer
Father, thank you that you don’t love me because I’m good enough, or because I’m smart enough or because I’m handsome (pretty) enough, but you love me for who I am because you are perfect love. Thank you that I can rely on that love and find my identity in it.
Amen

Study by Barry Robinson

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barryrobinsonAbout the Author:
Barry Robinson is an Elder in and pastoral worker in the Greater London area, particularly the Camberwell and North London congregations of the Worldwide Church of God UK.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God London
Indian YMCA
Mahatma Gandhi Hall
41 Fitzroy Square
LONDON W1T 6AQ

Meeting Time:
Saturday 2:30pm

Local Congregational Contact:
Martin Ryan
Phone: 07958 386944
Email:   martin_ryan@wcg.org.uk

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